The Great Satan

“Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, said the United States had known of the Basra operation in advance, suggesting a good deal of coordination between the United States and Iraq.”


Contrary to earlier reports that the Maliki attack on Basra came as a complete surprise to U.S. authorities, it is now obvious that we were in there at the start and possibly were the initiators. Such looks from this vantage point to be extraordinarily dangerous for all — the Iraqis and our troops stationed in Iraq. How sad that a temporary period of relative peace has been disrupted by the urge once again to go to war. Killing people is wrong unless one has one hell of a good excuse for doing so. I do not see that here. I see a political maneuver to instill our troops in Iraq as long as possible with the hope of dominating the region from that base.

If one checks out what has been happening in Iraq, one finds that the moderates who might constitute the base of a democratic government — the doctors and teachers at all levels — have been fleeing the country to nearby states where they are at least safe from murder and kidnapping. Those left in control look to be self interested types who seek riches by dominating the ‘others’ in Iraq. Such a state of affairs is inherently unstable. Five million or so Sunnis have no wish to be dominated by 15 million Shiites. And the Kurds have moved out on their own amidst the chaos.

I don’t see much in the way of a future for the remnants of people suffering there. The Mahdi army is made up of thousands of poor and angry young men, excluded from a safe and sane place in their society. They are well armed and have no incentive for going along to get along. We try paying them to join the army or police, but as all reports indicate one cannot trust those whom we are trying to convert into an set of mercenary forces working on our behalf as much, if not more than, their own.

Adequate words or images escape me here to describe this brutal world. It is certainly not Wonderland. Hell strikes me as being nearer to the core of things and we Americans as the great Satan.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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